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PrincessPurrsALot

S06.E28: Vote Counting

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"Please, America, put this guy out of everyone's misery."

Speaking as somebody who watches DWTS, dear God, yes. Judging from the discussion threads with others about this season, there are many who agree with that sentiment. 

I've seen that McCarthy clip three times now thanks to various TV shows, and his speech makes less and less sense each time. It's both fascinating and incredibly sad watching these people desperately flailing to try and come up with a defense of Trump. 

"The machine can't be bad because it produced me." That was chilling, as was the examples of just how easy it is to hack into a voting machine. And the Putin clip...YIKES.

I'm glad that my state, Iowa, doesn't deal with DRE machines, but I don't like that we still got mentioned as an example of voting problems :/. I fully agree with the paper trail and keeping things as separate from the internet as possible, but if people do keep insisting on using voting machines, then they need to employ people who are really good at knowing how to combat any potential hacks as they happen, and who can man those machines so they aren't left unattended. 

Also, being reminded that there are people young enough to have little to no memory of the 2000 election made me feel old, so thanks, show. 

I will forever love the clips of local newsanchors making fools of themselves on TV for the holidays :D. And I may need to start watching Nicole Wallace. 

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1 hour ago, Annber03 said:

I will forever love the clips of local newsanchors making fools of themselves on TV for the holidays :D.

That unicorn weatherman was ah-maz-ing!

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5 minutes ago, ahisma said:

That unicorn weatherman was ah-maz-ing!

The little butt wiggle to show off his tail... 

I also love the people who turn into floating heads because their costumes blend into the green screen. 

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You know what would be even better than "securing" the election with a paper trail? Doing the voting on paper from the get go.  If organised right, it's more or less fool proof…..

Side-note, the German government considered voting machines a few years back. Then the Bush re-election happened. After that nobody was talking about the notion again. So...I guess thank you for taking the bullet for us?

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I use the scanning method. Reminds me of the ScanTron tests I took in school. I guess the mechanical predecessor wasn’t secure. You got to pull a lever. If someone tells you they didn’t imagine starting up an electric chair? That person is a liar. Or maybe there’s something wrong with me.

4 hours ago, snowwhyte said:

On the Trump Witch Hunt shirt was Superhero Trump flying in front of the same glowing orb that he was feeling up with the Saudis?

In a just world, those wouldn’t sell a damn nickel. But they’re on sale at the president’s candidate site, so . . . yeah. That. Also, I’m still open to replacing the phrase “witch hunt” with “witch pursuit thing.”

Trevor Noah covered Spicer on DWTS last week. Basically, Spicey is actively gaming the voting system, so he never gets eliminated no matter how poorly he dances . . . which — from what I’ve seen — is all the time.

Edited by Lantern7
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4 hours ago, snowwhyte said:

On the Trump Witch Hunt shirt was Superhero Trump flying in front of the same glowing orb that he was feeling up with the Saudis?

Those shirts were bonkers. I loved Oliver's analysis of all that was wrong with them. This is what I don't get. How are we losing to people who come up with ridiculous stunts like this, or speeches like McCarthy's? 

Seriously, if I never hear the term "witch hunt" again, it'll be too soon. 

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10 hours ago, Annber03 said:

"The machine can't be bad because it produced me." That was chilling, as was the examples of just how easy it is to hack into a voting machine.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought that quote was something John made up, that this is what the politicians are thinking.

Quote

And the Putin clip...YIKES.

And you gotta know that Trump LOVED that.

It's amazing, and horrifying, how blasé some people in our government are about the voting machines. I really don't think they want the machines to get hacked, because you can't know which way the hack would go, so they just don't care?

I had to look up what kind of voting system we use. It's called Votomatic, where you use an pen to mark in the circle.

Votomatic.jpg

Loved John's line about Trump repeating "no quid pro quo" as if it's an invincibility spell he learned at Hogwarts.

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My son voted in the Canadian election two weeks ago.  He texted me and said he found it a tad archaic compared to voting in the US.  When I asked why he responded: Pencil. Paper. A cardboard ballot box.  I did point out that he only had to vote for an MP- so really a sophisticated electronic voting system was unnecessary, and he agreed.  

But I have to say they never seem to have any issues with vote counting or possible election fraud in Canada.

Sometimes the old fashioned ways are still the best.

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2 minutes ago, peeayebee said:

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought that quote was something John made up, that this is what the politicians are thinking.

That quote came from a clip where somebody was talking about their theory as to why politicians might be slow to respond to these kinds of voting issues. It may not be the main reason, but I can easily see where politicians wouldn't question a system that allowed them to win. 

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1 hour ago, Annber03 said:

How are we losing to people who come up with ridiculous stunts like this, or speeches like McCarthy's? 

McCarthy's speeches remind me of something I apparently did as a baby. I've been told I was slower to learn words, but I had inflection down really early, so I knew how a sentence should sound. So I would speak complete gibberish but I'd pause and inflect in the right places so that it sounded like I was saying something. Kevin "The Place of the Band" McCarthy never actually says anything but he confidently acted like he said something important and that's close enough for most Republican die-hard faithful.

On the main segment, I wrote a paper for one of my grad school classes on voting machines and why switching back to paper is necessary. Horrifyingly, machines connecting to the internet wasn't the full extent of the problem. Some of those same machines also had a default password of "abcde" which could not be reset and multiple uncovered USB ports. Those machines could be hacked by the very complicated means of...plugging in a keyboard and pressing ctrl+alt+delete to get into the main OS and then inserting a flash drive with your attack pre-loaded on it. Those machines are used in several swing states. As John would say: "nighty night! Sleep tight!"

I am really, really glad that LWT covered this topic, though. Even though I wrote about this, I had never known the reason for the screen slippage was old glue. And it's critically important. We have to trust our elections.

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I voted yesterday.  The form is now scantron (fill in the circles).  We have drop off locations by city hall.  I wouldn't leave until I saw them put it in the box.  When I lived in Chicago in the 80s I was a poll watcher.  We would make sure all ballots handed to the poll workers were placed in the box, then followed the workers when they drive the ballots to city hall.  They tried to lose us on the way.  It was a bit of a local tradition.  

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44 minutes ago, BabyVegas said:

McCarthy's speeches remind me of something I apparently did as a baby. I've been told I was slower to learn words, but I had inflection down really early, so I knew how a sentence should sound. So I would speak complete gibberish but I'd pause and inflect in the right places so that it sounded like I was saying something. 

Interesting explanation. I can definitely see that sort of thing affecting how some people tend to speak in general. Plus there's also the fact that, obviously, one can get so caught up in how passionate they are that it tends to affect their actual sentences as a result. 

Quote

On the main segment, I wrote a paper for one of my grad school classes on voting machines and why switching back to paper is necessary. Horrifyingly, machines connecting to the internet wasn't the full extent of the problem. Some of those same machines also had a default password of "abcde" which could not be reset and multiple uncovered USB ports. Those machines could be hacked by the very complicated means of...plugging in a keyboard and pressing ctrl+alt+delete to get into the main OS and then inserting a flash drive with your attack pre-loaded on it. Those machines are used in several swing states. As John would say: "nighty night! Sleep tight!"

That's...frightening. I think another issue when it comes to this topic is that a lot of people tend to think that hacking must naturally involve some super complicated tech know-how that only the most tech-savvy people would be able to do, probably due in no small part to how it's portrayed in movies and TV. But no. It really can be simple enough to where your average citizen could do it, no problem. That's very disturbing to think about. 

I also think that, with some members of Congress, they're just not as up to date on technological advances in general, and so they don't really fully grasp the depths of how serious this is. I don't mean that as a slam or anything, either. I just think it can be hard for some people to keep up with all the changes that are out there. 

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3 hours ago, BabyVegas said:

McCarthy's speeches remind me of something I apparently did as a baby. I've been told I was slower to learn words, but I had inflection down really early, so I knew how a sentence should sound. So I would speak complete gibberish but I'd pause and inflect in the right places so that it sounded like I was saying something.

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John recapped 2000 election because there were probably many people too young to remember it made me feel very old.

I wish I could be surprised Congress doesn't want to fix machines so easily fixable. Of course not. They don't want to because it elected them although I will say that same remark made me even more for fixing the machine. That could explain a few things. 

My state luckily still does paper ballots which I'm really grateful for because I'm housebound. The only way I can vote is through paper ballots. 

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We do paper ballots, too. We have to fill in little circles, similar to the way you do multiple answer tests in school. I think they feed the paper ballots into something afterward, though. 

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37 minutes ago, Annber03 said:

We do paper ballots, too. We have to fill in little circles, similar to the way you do multiple answer tests in school. I think they feed the paper ballots into something afterward, though. 

They probably do.

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1 hour ago, Annber03 said:

We do paper ballots, too. We have to fill in little circles, similar to the way you do multiple answer tests in school. I think they feed the paper ballots into something afterward, though. 

They do. Optical scan machines are SIGNIFICANTLY less dangerous than direct voting machines, though. And they're cheaper and break less often. 

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3 minutes ago, BabyVegas said:

They do. Optical scan machines are SIGNIFICANTLY less dangerous than direct voting machines, though. And they're cheaper and break less often. 

That's very good to know :)!

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UK also votes with paper and pencil, but it has to be said that elections are much simpler when you only vote on one thing at a time.

I wrote my first pieces about voting security in 2000...it's hugely depressing to be still writing the same stuff nearly 20 years later. Oliver did a good job.

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Honestly, our pen and paper system is so well organised, I really don't see how anyone could manipulate it. You can't hack it because it is done on pen and paper. You can't cheat counting because every count is done by five people who are randomly assigned (so they don't know each other and don't all support the same party) AND every citizen has the right to come and witness the voting. You can't do ballot stuffing, partly because nobody is ever alone with the ballots, but also, because there are lists who voted where and the results are published online sorted by the districts, it would be immediately obvious if there are suddenly more votes than voters. And naturally we all have ID, so you can't vote for someone else.

I guess it is possible that someone who lives in you home is casting a letter vote for you, but wide-spread manipulation, I really don't see how this would be possible.

Those voting machines seem to be not only ineffective, but also more expensive than our system in the long run.

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10 hours ago, swanpride said:

Those voting machines seem to be not only ineffective, but also more expensive than our system in the long run.

You aren't wrong. It's also notable just how much money these voting machine companies spend lobbying Congress and states. That's something I don't think John got deep into and I wish he had. There's probably the "voting machines can't be bad because I won" mentality, but it should not be ignored that there are also lobbyists pushing to make sure that states keep ordering new machines. Replacing the voting machines needed for a given state is way more expensive than replacing the optical scan machines, so I'm sure that's a part of why the continued push for the vote recording machines. 

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swanpride: some parts of that set of precautions would not be possible in the US, which requires voting to be anonymous (that is, that no one can trace who voted for whom). Voter ID is also hugely controversial because it disenfranchises many people (and the amount of fraud from *voters* is minuscule; the fraud problems are run from the top, beginning with purging electoral rolls).

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Voting is anonymous over here, too. You only know WHO has voted, not what said person has voted for. This way you can make sure that the number of votes match up with the number of voters.

And yeah, I am aware of the voter ID discussion, but all the other precautions I listed could be implemented. They could do a count at the polling station how many people were coming in to vote, they could do the "five random assigned people pro ballot" thing, all of this would be possible to safeguard the election.

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1 minute ago, swanpride said:

Voting is anonymous over here, too.

But where is 'here'?? Can people please say where they're from?

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12 hours ago, BabyVegas said:

You aren't wrong. It's also notable just how much money these voting machine companies spend lobbying Congress and states. That's something I don't think John got deep into and I wish he had.

Me too. I was thinking of the same article as I watched. 

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5 hours ago, swanpride said:

Voting is anonymous over here, too. You only know WHO has voted, not what said person has voted for. This way you can make sure that the number of votes match up with the number of voters.

And yeah, I am aware of the voter ID discussion, but all the other precautions I listed could be implemented. They could do a count at the polling station how many people were coming in to vote, they could do the "five random assigned people pro ballot" thing, all of this would be possible to safeguard the election.

We have paper ballots here in Canada too.  They tick off your name when you vote.  Then they could the number of names they ticked off and validate that they have the same number of ballots.  They don't know who you voted for, just that you voted (so you can't vote twice 🙂 )

ETA:  I think I've mentioned before that our main voter registration comes when you do your taxes.  There is actually a question that asks, "Do you want to be registered to vote, yes/no?".  You can still vote if you aren't on the list.  You just have to bring appropriate ID with you including something with your address.  E.g.  If you don't have a driver's licence, you can bring your bank card and then a copy of your phone bill that shows where you live.

Edited by DEL901
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In California we had paper ballots and you used a pen to fill in the dots. I moved to Nevada and they use a touch screen system. Next to it was a locked transparent box that had a roll of paper which printed your selections. You could verify on that to see if the correct votes were printed.

Neither was easier than the other and both left a paper trail. They also only ask your name and match it up with your address on their sheet. No voter ID required. 

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2 hours ago, swanpride said:

Don't get me started on NOT having one system for all.

Federalism pretty much makes that a no go in the US.

I know there were problems with them, but I miss the old mechanical voting machines that New York state used. You flicked a bunch of little levers to vote for the candidates and to finalize your vote you pulled a big lever that made a "chunk chunk" sound.

Tactilely and audibly it was so gratifying. You knew you had voted.

(When our county retired them, they auctioned them off. I still wish I would have bought one ever though I had no room to store it.)

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2 hours ago, swanpride said:

Don't get me started on NOT having one system for all.

OTOH, it could be argued that a single system could be more easily hacked.  It's just that the states are wildly variant in their commitment to election security and a fair election.

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On 11/6/2019 at 8:39 PM, xaxat said:

I know there were problems with them, but I miss the old mechanical voting machines that New York state used. You flicked a bunch of little levers to vote for the candidates and to finalize your vote you pulled a big lever that made a "chunk chunk" sound.

Tactilely and audibly it was so gratifying. You knew you had voted.

(When our county retired them, they auctioned them off. I still wish I would have bought one ever though I had no room to store it.)

OMG, yes!! I'm also a native New Yorker and miss those every time I vote. I remember my mom bringing me in there so I could watch her vote when I was really little and I was so excited when I voted myself for the very first time! I did the same with my older son (now 14) when he was a baby. Not only was there the awesome lever action, but remember how the big lever that registered the vote also opened and closed the curtain, which made this awesome "SWISH!" sound? The little flicker levers that you used for the candidates were made of enameled steel--the whole contraption was built like a brick shithouse, and yes, absolutely made you feel like you'd VOTED with a capital "V". They got rid of them a couple of years before I moved out of New York; I was so bummed when I went to vote and they were gone. I'm a nostalgic Old, so sue me.

I now live in southeastern Connecticut, where our town uses the fill-in-the-dots system. At our polling place, they have a person who feeds your ballot into the machine and you get to see the number tick up when it goes in, so there's that. We had small local elections on Tuesday--town council and school board--but since 2016, there's no election too small for me. Dogcatcher? I'm there, and telling my kids how important it is to vote. Really disappointing was the fact that I went 45 minutes before the polls closed, and could see in the sign-in book that I was the only person on my block who'd voted. 😞 😞 😞. VOTE, goddamnit.

Edited by spaceghostess · Reason: Wayward capitals
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4 minutes ago, spaceghostess said:

We had small local elections on Tuesday--Town Council and Board of Ed--but since 2016, there's no election too small for me. Dogcatcher? I'm there, and telling my kids how important it is to vote. Really disappointing was the fact that I went 45 minutes before the polls closed, and could see in the sign-in book that I was the only person on my block who'd voted. 😞 😞 😞. VOTE, goddamnit.

Seconding all of this. Our elections were small this go-round, too-city council and school board stuff. But yeah, hopefully the past few years have made people even more diligent about voting in general, and if it hasn't, that's sad. 

And it's also good to look up whatever you can about the candidates in smaller races, too, just so you have a better idea of how responsible and efficient they are in general and whatnot. Otherwise, you may find your area being highlight in a segment on a show like this :p. 

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3 hours ago, Annber03 said:

 And it's also good to look up whatever you can about the candidates in smaller races, too, just so you have a better idea of how responsible and efficient they are in general and whatnot. Otherwise, you may find your area being highlight in a segment on a show like this :p. 

So true. My older kid actually did an email interview with one of our town council candidates when he was doing a project on the water cycle and how our town deals with runoff and other water conservation issues. She's a teacher at the tech high school and was great about answering his questions in a thoughtful and informative way. Nice for him to experience that with one of our local politicians (who got my vote, BTW). 🙂

Edited by spaceghostess · Reason: again with the making non-proper nouns into proper nouns
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2 hours ago, spaceghostess said:

Not only was there the awesome lever action, but remember how the big lever that registered the vote also opened and closed the curtain, which made this awesome "SWISH!" sound?

Yes! I'd forgot about the curtain!

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1 hour ago, xaxat said:

Yes! I'd forgot about the curtain!

Loved the curtain. Our local machines looked much like this one:

5_05_sm.jpg.89f1b8f08f3c153aae93bb19d61d0585.jpg

I'm kind of in love with this mid-century lady in her nifty voting ensemble. 

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